- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Fighting like liberals

Quick, someone call Howard Dean. It appears the right has stolen the left’s playbook and is now using tactics liberals have used for decades,” Brendan Miniter writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“Unlike Jimmy Carter’s debate briefing book, which someone slipped to Ronald Reagan’s staff in 1980, there are actually useful nuggets that the old Reaganites and the new Bushies can use,” Mr. Miniter said.

“It’s hard to know when this began. But on a variety of fronts, conservatives are using arguments and tactics heretofore under patent protection by the left, including pushing for activist judges (with four decades of liberal jurisprudence on the books, the left’s best hope is judges who respect precedent above all), using federal dollars to build political constituencies, filing lawsuits, launching boycotts, and arguing for free speech and ‘diversity’ in education. The last has drawn a surprising amount of attention lately with a debate over evolution and ‘intelligent design’ — the hypothesis that evolution isn’t random but rather the mechanism an intelligent being uses to change the universe.

“President Bush pushed this debate well into the public spotlight by remarking that intelligent design should be taught in addition to random evolution. Whatever the merits of this debate, it’s interesting that the ‘religious right’ is co-opting the arguments of the left. With ‘diversity’ a worthy goal in education, why not present students with ‘both sides’? That way no one is left out and everyone is included. …

“That the right is now adopting this creed shows that the liberal tactic is nearly played out. Colorado University professor Ward Churchill, who likened 9/11 victims to Nazi functionaries, can take diversity for a test drive in hopes of leaving the controversy he stirred up in the dust. But with that logic, intelligent-design folks can jump behind the wheel too and see where ‘diversity’ takes them.”

Hagel’s remark

“Like feeding raw meat to a lion, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel on Sunday gave television journalists what they wanted and couldn’t resist: A soundbite comparing Iraq to Vietnam when he said on ABC’s ‘This Week’ that ‘we are locked into a bogged-down problem, not dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam,’” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker reports at www.mediaresearch.org.

“CNN’s Aaron Brown trumpeted at the top of Monday’s ‘NewsNight’ how ‘the anti-war voices are not just liberal groups camped out with Cindy Sheehan in Texas, but at least one senior Republican senator, who has always had questions about the war, but now compares it to a war he fought a generation ago.’

“On the CBS Evening News, anchor John Roberts played up Hagel’s influence: ‘What’s the White House making of what would seem to be some pretty harsh criticism from a guy who’s supposed to be on the president’s team?’

“‘NBC Nightly News’ anchor Brian Williams listed a litany of setbacks for Bush on Iraq, ending with how ‘it doesn’t help that a prominent senator, in his own party, is comparing it to Vietnam.’

“In the morning on ‘Today,’ Ann Curry stressed how ‘a prominent Republican senator compared the war in Iraq to Vietnam’ and Don Teague touted how Bush is ‘even facing fire from within his own party.’”

Ignoring good news

“What was the big ‘Iraq’ story in August? Which vital issue got the most air-time and ink? The camp-out of a sad, tormented woman who had lost her son, her marriage and her judgment,” Ralph Peters writes in the New York Post.

“The media pounced on poor Cindy Sheehan in an anti-Bush, anti-war frenzy. The disappointment was obvious when she decided to go home,” Mr. Peters said.

“What should have made headlines? It would’ve been nice to see more attention devoted to the complexity and importance of drafting a new constitution for Iraq. But my nomination for the ‘Greatest Story Never Told’ is a quieter one: Locked in a difficult war, the U.S. Army is exceeding its re-enlistment and first-time enlistment goals. Has anybody mentioned that to you?

“Remember last spring, when the Army’s recruitment efforts fell short for a few months? The media’s glee would have made you confuse the New York Times and Air America.

“When the Army attempted to explain that enlistments are cyclical and numbers dip at certain times of the year, the media ignored it. All that mattered was the wonderful news that the Army couldn’t find enough soldiers. We were warned, in oh-so-solemn tones, that our military was headed for a train wreck.

“Now, as the fiscal year nears an end, the Army’s numbers look great. Especially in combat units and Iraq, soldiers are re-enlisting at record levels. And you don’t hear a whisper about it from the ‘mainstream media.’”

At long last

North Carolina lawmakers selected a new superintendent of public schools yesterday, resolving the nation’s last undecided statewide election from November.

Democrat June Atkinson was chosen to run the state’s 1.4-million-student school system by a 93-21 vote during a joint session of the Senate and House.

It was the first time since 1835 that North Carolina lawmakers determined the winner of a statewide office, the Associated Press reports.

The outcome was expected: A 10-member legislative panel recommended Miss Atkinson and Democrats hold a 14-seat advantage in the General Assembly. Miss Atkinson beat out Republican Bill Fletcher.

In the Nov. 2 election, Miss Atkinson beat Mr. Fletcher by 8,535 votes out of more than 3.3 million ballots cast. But Mr. Fletcher went to court, arguing that at least 11,000 ballots cast outside of voters’ home precincts were unlawful.

The state Supreme Court agreed in February that the ballots were cast illegally, but the legislature later passed a law that essentially overturned the opinion.

Watts’ decision

Former Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. said yesterday that he will not run for governor in Oklahoma next year.

“I have determined that the timing for such an adventure is not right at this point in our lives,” he said.

He said he spent more than two months talking with voters across the state before reaching his decision, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Watts is the second Republican to decide against making the race; Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin has announced that she will run for re-election instead of running for governor. Their moves leave the GOP without a proven vote-getter with wide name recognition to challenge Gov. Brad Henry, the popular Democratic incumbent.

Republican state Sen. Jim Williamson of Tulsa and oil executive Robert Sullivan have said they will run for governor.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-385 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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